How Millennials Occupy Space

Millennials are defined as the population between the ages of 18-30. They are also referred to as generation “Y.” The typical millennial was born between 1981 and 1996. Most millennials are children of “Baby Boomers” and are often parents of “Generation Alpha.”

Millennials comprise the first generation of people who grew up entirely in the digital world. Their preferences of spontaneity and their link to the virtual world have redefined what we envision for our living and working spaces. It has been noted that older generations have willingly adapted to their workplaces while millennials expect their workplaces to adapt to them. They prefer the activity-based environment, co-working settings, and lots of social interaction. Millennials desire the open layout both in the home and in the office. This allows them to share and easily exchange information among themselves. Their affinity for technology shapes all aspects of their lives while they freely use social media platforms to express opinions and experiences.

Due to the demands of millennials, companies have moved from closed-in, high-walled cubicles to workstations designed to create spontaneous interaction. This shift in workplace design has been linked to higher productivity levels and greater worker engagement. The common, one desk per employee setup, is being replaced by multiple employees working together, side by side, on one table. This open layout allows millennials to share everything from charging stations to power devices. It also provides an avenue for social interaction and collaboration with their peers. Offering amenities such as bicycle parking, healthy food options in the cafeteria, and more comfortable seating areas are being offered to attract millennial talent.

Studies show that millennials choose to live in mixed-use communities, and the majority of them are renters. They prefer the convenience of shopping areas, restaurants, and offices that are closer to their places of residence. Some companies have shifted their bases to these growing downtown areas.  Apartment communities are actually changing their setup to appeal to the growing millennial population. These creative living spaces are gradually eliminating traditional lobbies.  Millennials desire communities that provide smaller housing units but boast of lots of activities. They seem to prefer residential buildings with distinctive communal features such as connecting benches, party lights, and distinctive views of the city. Some other amenities they enjoy are:

  • Rooftop decks and dining terraces.
  • Garden/Art walls.
  • Fireside dining.
  • Poolside cabanas.
  • Game rooms.
  • Multimedia Amphitheaters.
  • Interactive architectural elements.

Millennials appreciate the flexibility of personal spaces mixed into work-at-home spaces. Smart technology and 24/7 connectivity are a must for them.

With the ever-increasing tendency of millennials to use e-commerce, traditional shopping malls are being repurposed. Millennial consumers shop for experiences, not just products. It is preferable for them to take a cooking class while shopping for groceries or visit a sporting goods store that offers an in-house fitness studio. This allows the younger consumers to try products while shopping. Health and wellness are also in high demand with yoga, meditation, and massages being the norm. These digital natives are among the most demanding shoppers and they are technically knowledgeable, innovative, and ecologically mindful.

Attracting millennials requires delving into virtual reality and participative experiences. They prefer an overall entertainment experience, actually becoming part of the action, rather than just visiting a movie theater. Individual space is becoming smaller and community space is becoming larger. How have millennials changed the area you live in? Begin taking notice and you will see how this dynamic generation is taking hold and changing homes, shopping centers, and office buildings all around us.


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